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Commentary on Galatians

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A classic commentary on Galatians by one of the world's greatest expositors. A classic commentary on Galatians by one of the world's greatest expositors.


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A classic commentary on Galatians by one of the world's greatest expositors. A classic commentary on Galatians by one of the world's greatest expositors.

30 review for Commentary on Galatians

  1. 4 out of 5

    Fergus

    THE GREAT DIVIDE OF THE REFORMATION... However wrongly interpreted it may have been! If you’re travelling west on the transcontinental train through Canada, along the old Canadian Pacific tracks when you get as far as Alberta, you’ll come to a clearly marked large wooden sign near the British Columbia border - The Great Divide. That is the point within the Canadian Rockies which marks the water flow from atop the range - on one side, simplistically put, the streams flow east; and on the other, th THE GREAT DIVIDE OF THE REFORMATION... However wrongly interpreted it may have been! If you’re travelling west on the transcontinental train through Canada, along the old Canadian Pacific tracks when you get as far as Alberta, you’ll come to a clearly marked large wooden sign near the British Columbia border - The Great Divide. That is the point within the Canadian Rockies which marks the water flow from atop the range - on one side, simplistically put, the streams flow east; and on the other, they eventually reach the Pacific. It is all part of the geological Continental Divide, stretching from North to South America. So it is with Luther’s stunningly direct book - on the near side of this former Augustinian monk’s Galatians flows the freedom of the gospel of love - and on the far side, the entrapment of a teaching espousing the rigid rules of the law. We don’t get to Heaven by acting good. No - we get there by actively and with every nerve and sinew avoiding each and every evil, and clinging with untiring tenacity to the hand of the almighty through faith. Now, only God knows who are the blessed Sheep and who are the grisly Goats. That, at least, according to us Catholics. And whatever denigrating words you may have for us and our Pope, you’ve gotta admit we’ve made a decisive shift towards the freedom of love in Francis’ papacy. All well and good. But Luther, in a fit of pride, thinks he knows too. And in a way he does. His point is extremely valuable, but he underestimates his enemies’ strength. For by embracing the rules of the work ethic, his church - and yes, ours - nowadays tends to end up seeing the world in Black and White, instead of shades of suspicious grey. Through which lens a writer of Roman allegiance like Graham Greene or Flannery O’Connor believes a truly Human view of the world may truly be seen. Now hold that thought... For all my glaring oversimplification here, Luther’s words in this book Galvanized my Flagging Faith, at the time of my pre-retirement burnout. Because it showed the central freedom of love in a world of law and rules, and because, after all, I started this ordeal of life on his side of the playing field. For I wasn’t a cradle Catholic. But it now showed me that there WAS a way to see the true faces of my tormentors clearly. It gave me hope for my recovery. That, of course, was only the merest glimmer of a new beginning in my darkened soul. But it was enough. It jived so well with my intuition. And isn’t your gut feeling usually right? When I was away at university many years ago, the prof I considered the wisest of the lot there (but so markedly human like us) said that that’s the test of Truth - the sense it creates deep in your BONES. Of course he was right. Unknowingly, he gave me further ammunition for my inwardly-debated move to the Church long ago. For that’s how deep faith starts. In your feelings - deep in your bones. At the time, I was reading about the gospel of love according to St Therese. I was emotionally enthusiastic. But our Protestant side also reminds us that sound common sense and Logic can pick up our faith when our initial emotional enthusiasm fails. As Luther did for me at retirement. And aren’t these two factions mere opposite sides of One Great Coin? I think I can sum up this whole long spin of mine by quoting an old poem that a wise Baptist Gentleman of the Old South, Vance Havner, cited long, long ago: Three men were walking on a wall - Feeling, Faith and Fact; Feeling took an awful fall And Faith was taken back - Faith was so close to Feeling That he fell too! But Fact remained and pulled Faith up... And that brought Feeling too! Kinda all makes sense, don’t it? And THAT’s how my life and freedom were eventually restored to me, many years after my burnout.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Hayes

    This book changed my life forever. It is also my first time ever looking into what Martin Luther knew about the Bible, reading one of his books. Prior to reading this I was a Seventh Day Adventist for nearly 5 years. I knew a little about Jesus before Adventism, but was introduced to it through family. During this 5 years I was taught that the Law and the Gospel were the same thing. To my surprise, Martin brought me straight to the Scriptures to show me that the Law and the Gospel are two comple This book changed my life forever. It is also my first time ever looking into what Martin Luther knew about the Bible, reading one of his books. Prior to reading this I was a Seventh Day Adventist for nearly 5 years. I knew a little about Jesus before Adventism, but was introduced to it through family. During this 5 years I was taught that the Law and the Gospel were the same thing. To my surprise, Martin brought me straight to the Scriptures to show me that the Law and the Gospel are two completely different forces. I never really touched the book of Galatians as an Adventist, and this commentary forced me to. I am so grateful that the deceptions found within Adventism were rapidly discarded from my mind thanks to the aid of this book. I now know for sure that I am saved by grace by faith in Christ and not by works. This single book tore down in two weeks the walls of superstition that Adventism built in my mind for over 5 years. That should say something. This read is not only stunning in intellectual depth, but very funny at parts too as Luther uses the aid of metaphors, similes, and even the abuses of the Catholic church itself to prove Scripture. And of course he backs up Scripture with more Scripture, line upon line, here a little, there a little. Even if you feel well versed in righteousness by faith, please read this book; I highly doubt it will fail to solidify your faith in Christ and Christ alone.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A wonderful reminder of the power of justification by faith alone. From a spiritual perspective, I found the book uplifting, thought-provoking, and encouraging. Yet, I think, what made this book particularly endearing was simply the delight of having one of my favorite people talk about one of my other favorite people. I'm not sure if I can properly explain. But it is the sense that Martin Luther writes about Paul as one writes about a mutual friend. I've read through the book of Galatians dozen A wonderful reminder of the power of justification by faith alone. From a spiritual perspective, I found the book uplifting, thought-provoking, and encouraging. Yet, I think, what made this book particularly endearing was simply the delight of having one of my favorite people talk about one of my other favorite people. I'm not sure if I can properly explain. But it is the sense that Martin Luther writes about Paul as one writes about a mutual friend. I've read through the book of Galatians dozens of times and the New Testament scarcely less. Thus, Paul stands out as someone whose writings have influenced me from my earliest years. And since I spent the first 18ish years of my life in a Lutheran church, I also feel like Luther and I stand on pretty familiar ground. Both men impacted my spiritual walk. So to read about Luther talk about Paul and Paul's struggles and quote Paul's letter and contrast it with his other letters felt like chatting with one friend about a very dear mutual friend. And of course, all three of us share a mutual adoration for our best friend, Jesus. It sounds almost childish to put it that way, and yet I can think of no better explanation. Thousands of years span the timeline of Paul to Luther to Amy, and yet all three of us rejoice in justification by faith, not of our own works, but of God's! I definitely recommend this one for a deeper look at Galatians. (Though I will offer this in warning, Luther is not one to pull his punches where the Pope or Catholic church is concerned!)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Henry

    Luther regarded this work as among his best. It dealt with the central issues of the Reformation in a clear and decisive way. If you want to know what the Reformation was about, read this book. John Bunyan said of it that there was no book apart from the Bible better suited to help a wounded conscience. It was a favorite of his and deserves to be more widely read today.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John Lowery

    This is the book that God used to bring me to assurance. It is truly wonderful and should be widely read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Zoie Thune

    This commentary refreshed my understanding of the gospel and my joy in the gospel. Read this commentary if you want to distinguish between the law and gospel, have Christ set before your eyes, encourage a guilty conscience, or learn how to speak the gospel to yourself and others. Possibly you just want to see Luther smack talk the papacy. I would recommend it to any brother or sister in Christ but especially to those who are battling a guilty conscience. For example, "To be dead to the Law means This commentary refreshed my understanding of the gospel and my joy in the gospel. Read this commentary if you want to distinguish between the law and gospel, have Christ set before your eyes, encourage a guilty conscience, or learn how to speak the gospel to yourself and others. Possibly you just want to see Luther smack talk the papacy. I would recommend it to any brother or sister in Christ but especially to those who are battling a guilty conscience. For example, "To be dead to the Law means to be free of the Law. What right, then, has the Law to accuse me, or to hold anything against me? When you see a person squirming in the clutches of the Law, say to him: 'Brother, get things straight. You let the Law talk to your conscience. Make it talk to your flesh. Wake up, and believe in Jesus Christ, the Conqueror of Law and sin. Faith in Christ will lift you high above the Law into the heaven of grace. Though Law and sin remain, they no longer concern you, because you are dead to the Law and dead to sin.'" Again, I highly recommend it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    In the introduction, J.I. Packer writes that Luther's Commentary on Galatians is, "undoubtedly the finest and most powerful paean on justification that any Reformer ever uttered". It aided Charles Wesley in coming to saving faith. Wesley would later write the hymn Hark the Herald Angels Sing. John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress, said this book is second only to the Bible in healing a wounded conscience. I did not think it could possibly live up to this acclaim. It did. In the introduction, J.I. Packer writes that Luther's Commentary on Galatians is, "undoubtedly the finest and most powerful paean on justification that any Reformer ever uttered". It aided Charles Wesley in coming to saving faith. Wesley would later write the hymn Hark the Herald Angels Sing. John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress, said this book is second only to the Bible in healing a wounded conscience. I did not think it could possibly live up to this acclaim. It did.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tim Smith

    Fantastic! This is an abridged version, I believe. The unabridged version runs many hundreds of pages. Even so, this is full of many lustrous insights. The message of the first four chapters is hammered home with admirable consistency: we are justified by faith, not by works. Those who teach that any external human works or efforts are necessary, even relatively insignificant ones, are of the devil. The Gospel is Christ crucified. Full stop. It is not Christ crucified plus I contribute by keeping Fantastic! This is an abridged version, I believe. The unabridged version runs many hundreds of pages. Even so, this is full of many lustrous insights. The message of the first four chapters is hammered home with admirable consistency: we are justified by faith, not by works. Those who teach that any external human works or efforts are necessary, even relatively insignificant ones, are of the devil. The Gospel is Christ crucified. Full stop. It is not Christ crucified plus I contribute by keeping the Law. Paul also provides, by way of reminding the readers of his genuine Apostolic credentials, several interesting bits of personal biography. The fifth chapter is a valuable lesson on living in the Spirit as opposed to living by the flesh. Luther provides many valuable and precious bits of wisdom to complement Paul's teaching. The last chapter is a very pastoral chapter. Luther shows a very compassionate side which would probably surprise many people who only know Luther from the bad press he gets from the Roman Catholic church as well as unbelievers who do not believe in Paul's gospel of justification by faith alone. The only minor objections I have - and this may just be a personal foible - this version is in modern English. By that I mean the turns of phrases for which Luther is so well known have been modernized, maybe even Americanized. Personally, I rather like the older versions. If you like the beautiful language of the King James Version or the Geneva Bible, then you will need a little time to adjust. It's not quite as jarring as reading the Living Bible, but it tiptoed around the fringes of that. Secondly, Luther's introduction to his Commentary on Galatians is one of the classic works of its kind. Supposedly, John Wesley was converted upon hearing the intro read aloud. Unfortunately, the introduction is not included with this version, and that is a great pity. However, this is still a highly recommended work. I believe any Christian would be blessed by it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    I read this for the past several weeks, a couple pages a day. I found the message provided what I need. Martin Luther and Paul the Apostle resonate with me. They have backgrounds similar to mine, a religious background that binds the mind. The true Gospel brings freedom. Martin Luther had to suffer for this truth. I'm grateful for his words and influence. I read this for the past several weeks, a couple pages a day. I found the message provided what I need. Martin Luther and Paul the Apostle resonate with me. They have backgrounds similar to mine, a religious background that binds the mind. The true Gospel brings freedom. Martin Luther had to suffer for this truth. I'm grateful for his words and influence.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    By explaining Galatians line by line, Luther explains the doctrine of salvation by believing in Jesus versus salvation earned by works. He shows that it is clear that we should do good works in the strength of the Lord, but these good works are to be a result of salvation in Christ, not the way to salvation.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Todd Bryant

    I'm a Baptist preacher who preached through Galatians. So, Luther and I certainly disagree on some fundamental issues relative to church practice. OK...that's out of the way. The cons for me: He rambles quite extensively at times and chases some rabbits - and I'm not sure he always catches them. There is some unwarranted and unnecessary typology (which also, unfortunately, exists in Baptist pulpits). He's amillennial and it comes out quite a bit. I'm not angry with him over his position there - I'm a Baptist preacher who preached through Galatians. So, Luther and I certainly disagree on some fundamental issues relative to church practice. OK...that's out of the way. The cons for me: He rambles quite extensively at times and chases some rabbits - and I'm not sure he always catches them. There is some unwarranted and unnecessary typology (which also, unfortunately, exists in Baptist pulpits). He's amillennial and it comes out quite a bit. I'm not angry with him over his position there - it's just not mine. He was far too brief in a couple of places where I felt like he needed to be more in-depth. That was strange considering how much he rambled at other times. So why the four stars you ask? I'm glad you asked. This was a really interesting take on Galatians for me because of Luther's history. He regularly explained his exodus from Catholicism and why. He regularly shared his experiences as a monk and how they perverted the Gospel. This historic perspective was really interesting to me. I enjoy history. Also, Luther obviously understood justification by faith apart from the Law. He still struggled at times to place the Law in its proper place. But considering where he came from, it's understandable. I'm glad I read this along with other commentaries, if for no other reason, it's a classic commentary on Galatians. Not to mention, there are some really good one-liners for a pastor preaching through a book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

    After reading the Bible, every Christian should at least one time in their life read something by Martin Luther to understand the man who has been responsible for the Protestant Reformation and the issue of justification that was at stake. Luther's commentary of Galatians was a delightful read. I was surprised that there was not a strong polemical taste to this work but instead one feels the pastoral heartbeat of Luther as he expounds the meaning of the text and often showing how a promise in Ga After reading the Bible, every Christian should at least one time in their life read something by Martin Luther to understand the man who has been responsible for the Protestant Reformation and the issue of justification that was at stake. Luther's commentary of Galatians was a delightful read. I was surprised that there was not a strong polemical taste to this work but instead one feels the pastoral heartbeat of Luther as he expounds the meaning of the text and often showing how a promise in Galatians should be applied to combating wrong thoughts and demonic discouragement. Again, a delightful read, but more than reading the words of Martin Luther this commentary made me read more carefully on my own the book of Galatians itself.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    Martin Luther remarked, "The Epistle to the Galatians is my epistle. To it I am as it were in wedlock." In this commentary on Paul's letter, we can see why. It also serves as a helpful backdrop to the time period of the Reformation. I also haven't read anything that has helped my understanding of law and grace as this has. As Luther explains, "The hypocritical doers of the Law are those who seek to obtain righteousness by a mechanical performance of good works while their hearts are far removed Martin Luther remarked, "The Epistle to the Galatians is my epistle. To it I am as it were in wedlock." In this commentary on Paul's letter, we can see why. It also serves as a helpful backdrop to the time period of the Reformation. I also haven't read anything that has helped my understanding of law and grace as this has. As Luther explains, "The hypocritical doers of the Law are those who seek to obtain righteousness by a mechanical performance of good works while their hearts are far removed from God. They act like the foolish carpenter who starts with the roof when he builds a house." This was one of those "classics" that I just couldn't get around to until now. Superb!

  14. 5 out of 5

    David Lasley

    Surprisingly easy to follow. I listened to the bulk of it through audiobook, making notes in a paper copy along the way. Luther considered this one of his favorite works and I can see why. This is not a dry exegesis of the text, but a work filled with Luther’s passion, personality, frustrations, and struggles as he works to outline the magnitude and impact of God’s grace communicated through the book of Galatians. I loved working through this the last month or so as God used it to shape and chal Surprisingly easy to follow. I listened to the bulk of it through audiobook, making notes in a paper copy along the way. Luther considered this one of his favorite works and I can see why. This is not a dry exegesis of the text, but a work filled with Luther’s passion, personality, frustrations, and struggles as he works to outline the magnitude and impact of God’s grace communicated through the book of Galatians. I loved working through this the last month or so as God used it to shape and challenge my thinking often. Great, super helpful read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brendan

    5/5 For the book itself, Luther has stunning theological insights. His works overflow with a sense of Christ's grace. 3/5 for the translation. I trust he had a decent understanding of the text, Graebner has this odd desire to make Luther 'talk American' so throws random 1930's American slang into a work written by a sixteenth-century German. It's awful distracting to hear Luther talking about 'dollars'. 5/5 For the book itself, Luther has stunning theological insights. His works overflow with a sense of Christ's grace. 3/5 for the translation. I trust he had a decent understanding of the text, Graebner has this odd desire to make Luther 'talk American' so throws random 1930's American slang into a work written by a sixteenth-century German. It's awful distracting to hear Luther talking about 'dollars'.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I can’t say I read every page, but I did read a lot of Luther’s classic commentary on Paul’s “epistle of freedom.” Bold and bombastic, written with wit, verve, theological insight, and profound imagination, this is the book that led to the conversions of Charles Wesley and John Bunyan. While Luther is not as precise as Calvin, and sometimes even stretches exegesis to the breaking point, his grasp of the gospel of free grace makes the commentary well worth consulting.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rick Davis

    Historically, this is one of the most important commentaries ever written. It embodies the reformation teaching of justification by faith alone. Galatians was Luther's favorite epistle, and his commentary on Galatians was his favorite among his own writings. It's also just as vibrant and insightful today as it was when Luther wrote it. Historically, this is one of the most important commentaries ever written. It embodies the reformation teaching of justification by faith alone. Galatians was Luther's favorite epistle, and his commentary on Galatians was his favorite among his own writings. It's also just as vibrant and insightful today as it was when Luther wrote it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Despite being a bit repetitive in its main theme this 500 year-old commentary is a law & gospel classic.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Alexander

    This really helped me understand Galatians better and see it as distinctly seperate from other New Testament books. Luther mostly just rephrases over and over the concept that faith, not the law, justifies and saves. The law exposes our depravity and points us to our need for Christ. He compares the false apostles defaming Paul referenced in Galatians to the papists and the Pope himself. He actually goes as far as to call them antichrists so things get pretty spicy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rex Libris

    A great explication of the Gospel message, and the notion of justification by Faith alone; as opposed to justification by the law or good works. The setting of the letter is a rebuke to the church in Galatia. Paul founded the churches there, and preached the Gospel message of justification by Faith alone. After he left, some other so-called teachers came along and started to get many of the Galatians to believe in justification by the law. Paul wrote the letter to set them back on the right trac A great explication of the Gospel message, and the notion of justification by Faith alone; as opposed to justification by the law or good works. The setting of the letter is a rebuke to the church in Galatia. Paul founded the churches there, and preached the Gospel message of justification by Faith alone. After he left, some other so-called teachers came along and started to get many of the Galatians to believe in justification by the law. Paul wrote the letter to set them back on the right track. He explains how the law cannot save, only faith in Jesus Christ. He goes on to explain to explain the purpose of the law is to show one his or her sinful natures, and thus the need for Jesus as Savior. Good works are not to be entirely jettisoned, as performing good works should be a response to grace, as way of showing appreciation for the grace. However, as no one can live a life of only good works, and no one can adhere perfectly to the law, it cannot save.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tim Casteel

    So much wisdom in this book - and surprisingly easy to read. Great book to slowly read through in morning devotions. I read it in tandem with Tim Keller's commentary on Galatians. They make a great pairing - they're very different and excellent in their own ways. It was Luther himself's favorite book he authored (which is saying a lot - including his lectures, he has over 600 works; This is a crazy stat: 1/3 of all the books sold in Germany in the first half of the 1500's were by Martin Luther!). So much wisdom in this book - and surprisingly easy to read. Great book to slowly read through in morning devotions. I read it in tandem with Tim Keller's commentary on Galatians. They make a great pairing - they're very different and excellent in their own ways. It was Luther himself's favorite book he authored (which is saying a lot - including his lectures, he has over 600 works; This is a crazy stat: 1/3 of all the books sold in Germany in the first half of the 1500's were by Martin Luther!). "The importance of this Commentary on Galatians for the history of Protestantism is very great. It presents like no other of Luther's writings the central thought of Christianity, the justification of the sinner for the sake of Christ's merits alone." - from the Preface by Theodore Graebner What comes through clearly is his passion for Christ and His grace. Definitely a book I will re-read often.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    This was my first foray into Martin Luther's writings. It was an amazing journey. Luther's style is easily accessible to the layman (at least in this particular commentary and translation). I was able to relate to what is being conveyed with little effort other than slowing down at times to ensure I understood what was being said in the KJV of English. Luther places Paul's writing to the Galatians in context, pulling apart some of the more tersely worded verses and adding contextual background fo This was my first foray into Martin Luther's writings. It was an amazing journey. Luther's style is easily accessible to the layman (at least in this particular commentary and translation). I was able to relate to what is being conveyed with little effort other than slowing down at times to ensure I understood what was being said in the KJV of English. Luther places Paul's writing to the Galatians in context, pulling apart some of the more tersely worded verses and adding contextual background for understanding to many others. This will be a Letter and commentary I come back and study again as the material is still relevant today - perhaps even more so as we struggle with keeping ourselves free from self imposed works and laws. I highly recommend this book to all who want to understand, or would like to obtain a deeper understanding of the freedom we gained as a result of Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

  23. 4 out of 5

    John Huesman

    There are some places that are difficult to read and it's clear that Luther was extremely anti-Catholic, but the overall theology is well delivered and sound. It was the writings of Paul, and specifically the Epistle to the Galatians, that began Luther's journey from Catholic monk to reformer. The idea that salvation is not bestowed by the church through works and is, instead, a free gift offered to everyone by the grace of God was anathema to the teachings Luther had believed from childhood thro There are some places that are difficult to read and it's clear that Luther was extremely anti-Catholic, but the overall theology is well delivered and sound. It was the writings of Paul, and specifically the Epistle to the Galatians, that began Luther's journey from Catholic monk to reformer. The idea that salvation is not bestowed by the church through works and is, instead, a free gift offered to everyone by the grace of God was anathema to the teachings Luther had believed from childhood through the teachings of the RCC.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Tran

    A fantastic read. It was so great to get a glimpse into the mind and heart of a man hell-bent on being faithful to the gospel. While Luther's commentary is saturated with his crusade against the pope, it is clear that Luther's resolve was fueled by Paul's own resolve to fight the Judaizers. Justification by faith in Christ alone is the resounding theme, and Luther absolutely will not stand for another gospel, for there is no other. A fantastic read. It was so great to get a glimpse into the mind and heart of a man hell-bent on being faithful to the gospel. While Luther's commentary is saturated with his crusade against the pope, it is clear that Luther's resolve was fueled by Paul's own resolve to fight the Judaizers. Justification by faith in Christ alone is the resounding theme, and Luther absolutely will not stand for another gospel, for there is no other.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Wilson

    Good.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Fascinating read in light of the role Luther played launching the Protestant Reformation.

  27. 4 out of 5

    David Woodbury

    You don't pick up this book expecting a nail-biting page-turner, so as a "good" read I might give it two stars. For content, its contribution to my faith and understanding, I could give it four. So I merge the two and give it three. Stars don't suit the purpose with this book, though. In my old age I'm reading a shelf full of books -- a Kindle full a well -- catching up on what I've missed through decades of lending my mind to someone else (a career in corporate management). My mind returned to You don't pick up this book expecting a nail-biting page-turner, so as a "good" read I might give it two stars. For content, its contribution to my faith and understanding, I could give it four. So I merge the two and give it three. Stars don't suit the purpose with this book, though. In my old age I'm reading a shelf full of books -- a Kindle full a well -- catching up on what I've missed through decades of lending my mind to someone else (a career in corporate management). My mind returned to me from its captivity, though, weary but intact. And now I am cleansing it with the books that my soul craves. I had always wanted to know what Luther was all about, and I am glad I finally acted on that wish. Now, I've never been associated with the Roman Catholic church, but I recently read Garry Wills's Why I Am A Catholic. That did not persuade me toward joining the RC church, nor does the Commentary on Galatians draw me into the Lutheran Church. (I'm already a confirmed but disappointed Episcopalian.) The church of the early, early Christians, and more precisely, the humble faith of the early, early Christians is what persuades me. Martin Luther enlivens Paul in this Commentary. I have no doubt that, among all living people in Judea at the time of Paul's conversion, Paul himself was the most eloquent, persuasive, energetic, and dedicated voice that Jesus could have conscripted to speak for him after the Resurrection. But Paul was devoted to destroying Jesus's influence. Once he was forced to listen, though, and once he heard the haunting words, Why are you persecuting me?, he alone in all the world had the fortitude and intellect to reverse his own course and overcome the damage he had previously wrought. He is utterly alive and compelling in his own words through the Epistles and as spoken of in the Acts. Compelling, but also theologically consistent. Martin Luther grasped all of this. And Luther expertly dissected the Epistle to the Galatians to effectively illuminate Paul's separation of the Law from faith. It struck me that early in the Epistle, and in the Commentary as well, the Law seemed almost explicitly to refer only to the Ten Commandments of Moses. At one point I felt that this conclusion was confirmed. But later, Luther expands the definition (meaning that Paul is understood to have done so also) to include all of the Law of Moses with its rites, rules, and rituals. I thought Luther might comment on the Ten Commandments as a body of law that is worthy unto itself. He did not. He also only weakly and slowly confirmed that the Law in its broad sense represents what one might follow voluntarily once one has grasped that righteousness comes by faith. For all the law, written to manage our behavior in all matters and all human intercourse, boils down to one commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. And you can do that as intended only once you love God, and you can love God only by faith. It is interesting, in my studies of these and other volumes I have consumed, that the path to Grace is very, very straight and the understanding needed is very, very elementary. Throughout his ministry Paul struggled not to make something that is inherently complicated plain to the masses -- for it is not inherently complicated. He struggled to keep something that is inherently simple visible to the masses and to strip it of all the complication that was being built up around it. Faith is a leap. Works, done according to the Law, do not build a bridge across anything that must be crossed by faith alone. After this, I expect to read more of Luther. Currently, though, I am immersed in The Language of God by Francis Collins. And after that I have a lot more to read by C.S. Lewis. So, we'll see. I now see the humanity of Martin Luther and agree that he was a passionate, effective apostle for Jesus.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Luther gets a bum rap. I’ve often heard others disparage him. They accuse him of not presenting the whole truth. As if he taught that the Christian had no responsibility or incentive to live in a way that would adorn the gospel. That the message on justification condoned lawlessness. Obviously, those people have not read his works. In the *Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians* Luther focuses on Justification by faith because it is an important doctrinal truth. It is what Paul focused on in Luther gets a bum rap. I’ve often heard others disparage him. They accuse him of not presenting the whole truth. As if he taught that the Christian had no responsibility or incentive to live in a way that would adorn the gospel. That the message on justification condoned lawlessness. Obviously, those people have not read his works. In the *Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians* Luther focuses on Justification by faith because it is an important doctrinal truth. It is what Paul focused on in his epistle to the Galatians and other writings. Justification is a gift, bought by the righteous life and blood of Christ, not ours. This is not what the papacy in his day was teaching. It is not that Luther condoned lawlessness. He wrote, “The true way of becoming a Christian is to be justified by faith in Jesus Christ, and not by the works of the law. We know that we must also teach good works, but they must be taught in the proper turn, when the discussion is concerning works and not the article of justification....Not that we reject good works. Far from it. But we will not allow ourselves to be removed from the anchorage of our salvation. We do not say that the law is bad. Only it is not able to justify us.” If you have any preconceived notions about Martin Luther, I hope you will at least take the time to read his work and give him a fair hearing. I was pleasantly surprised. My 4 star rating was based on the translation, not the content.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jon Pentecost

    I loved Luther’s commentary. His exegesis and application is wonderful. Didn’t love this translation. In modernizing the language sometimes used metaphors that were clearly not Luther’s own (referring to technology that didn’t exist in Luther’s day) which made it feel less like reading Luther and more like reading an appreciative Lutheran. Was also a condensation of both of Luther’s lectures through Galatians, so while helpfully shorter and more accessible for sermon prep, I think if I preached G I loved Luther’s commentary. His exegesis and application is wonderful. Didn’t love this translation. In modernizing the language sometimes used metaphors that were clearly not Luther’s own (referring to technology that didn’t exist in Luther’s day) which made it feel less like reading Luther and more like reading an appreciative Lutheran. Was also a condensation of both of Luther’s lectures through Galatians, so while helpfully shorter and more accessible for sermon prep, I think if I preached Galatians again I’d read less modern commentaries and make more time for his full lectures. Used in preparation for preaching Galatians in 2020.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jake Litwin

    I liked it overall. Great gospel truth and passionate writing about the law and the grace of God distinction. Interesting to even learn about Luther’s personal life, struggles, and theological battles he faced against Rome within a commentary. Though if you’re looking for an exegetical commentary that strictly focuses on the text and background of Galatians, I would not recommend this commentary as a first or second choice. Though worth reading if you desire to learn more about Luther’s life and I liked it overall. Great gospel truth and passionate writing about the law and the grace of God distinction. Interesting to even learn about Luther’s personal life, struggles, and theological battles he faced against Rome within a commentary. Though if you’re looking for an exegetical commentary that strictly focuses on the text and background of Galatians, I would not recommend this commentary as a first or second choice. Though worth reading if you desire to learn more about Luther’s life and theology.

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